Health

Multiple Ovulation

If you thought you had your monthly cycle figured out—think again

Women may be capable of ovulating several times in a single month, according to surprising new research from the University of Saskatchewan. Until now, experts believed that of the 15 to 20 follicles nurtured in your ovaries at the beginning of each menstrual cycle, only one matured enough for release mid-cycle. But of 50 women studied, 30 per cent had the potential to ovulate two or three times in a single cycle, says lead scientist Roger Pierson. Although larger studies are needed to confirm these findings, experts offer the following tips on making the right PMS-management, birth control and fertility choices today:

Birth control
You can continue on the birth control pill—it’s still just as effective—but be vigilant about taking your pill each day at the same time, even at the beginning of your cycle, says Dr. Timothy Rowe, a Vancouver gynecologist.
Remember that natural planning and the rhythm method may put you at risk for unexpected pregnancy.

Fertility
Talk to your doctor about your cycle if you’re considering fertility treatment. “Knowing that women may ovulate more than once a month could lead to an adjustment of hormones and better results,” says Pierson.

Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Understand that you may experience PMS-related mood changes weeks before and after your period, says Dr. Shaila Misri of the B.C. Women’s Hospital and Health Centre in Vancouver. Calcium- and magnesium-rich foods can help relieve symptoms.